Hot on the heels of his breakthrough concert DVD, Sola Scriptura & Beyond (which sold out before its release date), Morse unleashed another progressive rock masterpiece with Lifeline. But where do you go from Beyond?
Following Spock’s Beard’s Snow album, Neal crafted some of the most acclaimed concept albums in the annals of progressive rock. His rich sonic landscapes capture the imagination—musically, lyrically, and often spiritually. When Neal began writing his next opus, though, he took a fresh approach and let his songs stand individually.
Lifeline is a collection of songs encompassing Morse’s diverse musical styles, ranging from the classic sound of early Spock’s Beard to the fiery intensity of Sola Scriptura. His fresh approach yields songs spanning minutes instead of entire CDs. (OK, this is Neal Morse, so he slipped in a 28-minute mini-epic.)
The album opens with the title track, “Lifeline”, a song that might have overslept the Spock’s Beard V sessions. Neal honors the desperation he experienced for most of his life, and celebrates his eventual escape. He describes this previous life more intimately in the beautifully tragic “Can’t Find My Way”. (If the title sounds like a Transatlantic song, then you’re already prepared.)
“Leviathan”, the third track, expresses Neal’s lighter side. Humor is not usually associated with prog…then again, neither are metal guitars answered by funk horns, and sneezing sea monsters. Perhaps ironically, this is also probably the heaviest track of Neal’s career.
In the next two songs, spirituality, love, and hope are explored. The most recognizable for Morse and Beard fans will be, “Children of the Chosen”. Its anthemic, harmony-laden chorus evokes Snow’s “Wind at My Back”. Together, both songs are among Neal’s most engaging.
“Many Roads” is Lifeline’s inevitable, majestic epic. Chronicling Neal’s life, musically and biographically, the song traverses the many musical paths leading to the establishment of one of rock’s most distinctive voices. Prepare for a surprisingly candid account of Neal’s early experiences, and his motivation to seek a new life.
Bringing Lifeline full circle is the closing track, “Fly High”. Neal sings of returning to the beginning…before there were so many questions, so many roads. We return to where we were as children—safe in the eye of a raging storm. Looking skyward, we see a path leading out. We reach upward, higher than we ever could before, and grab hold…
1. Lifeline (13:28) 2. The Way Home (4:20) 3. Leviathan (6:04) 4. God’s Love (5:28) 5. Children of the Chosen (4:55) 6. So Many Roads (28:43) i – So Many Roads ii – Star For A Day iii – The Humdrum Life iv – All The Way To The Grave v – The Eyes Of The Savior vi – So Many Roads Reprise 7. Fly High (6:31)
Total Time: 69:33
Written and Produced by Neal Morse, Mixed by Rich Mouser